Love Saves the Day

G. Love & Special Sauce

(CD - Brushfire / Republic #002388702)

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Love Saves the Day kicks off with a title track that lurches like prime Black Keys, but this isn't a sign that G. Love & Special Sauce are scrambling to keep up with the times, nor is it an indication that they're aching for their past. Instead, the band -- which, as on 2014's Sugar, is a reconstituted version of their original lineup featuring guitarist/vocalist G. Love, drummer Jeffrey Clemens, and bassist Jim Prescott, who returned in 2014 after a five-year hiatus -- feel as if they're pulling together all their interests, both past and present, to engage with a perpetual now. For G. Love & Special Sauce, they live in a world where soul-jazz is filtered through hip-hop and co-exists happily with greasy electric blues; a world where rap, R&B, and rock are traditions to be played with, not treated with respectful distance. Appropriately, all the invited guests -- and there are a lot of them -- share this sensibility and all these musicians underscore the group's wide-ranging interests. Roots rock stalwarts David Hidalgo and Lucinda Williams stand alongside the funkier Ozomatli, Money Mark, and DJ Logic, plus there's a feint toward pop via a duet with Citizen Cope. It's aggressively eclectic but it's not showy: it doesn't draw attention to its cornucopia of sounds, it simply slides from one jam to another. If the songs don't necessarily stick, that's fine -- this is all about vibe, the idea of creating a never-ending party where everybody is welcome and, in that regard, G. Love & Special Sauce succeed.

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